QPEC statement on charter schools: Is this it?
Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC): Is this it?
QPEC members can find nothing new, exciting or innovative in these proposals - nothing that does not already exist within the public school system except a touch of military discipline and a dose of Remuera missionary schooling in South Auckland.
Minister Parata tried to spin the announcement of the new schools, saying they offer a new, innovative and dynamic approach to engaging students in education.
But it is simply not clear how, exactly, this will come about.
Is it the “attitudinal excellence” sought by the military prep school? Most of us would recognise this as the high discipline, bullying model imposed on at risk youth – an approach that the middle classes would never tolerate for their own children.
Or is it the Christian philosophy and values of the South Auckland Middle School replicating the approach used by its Remuera cousin? Wouldn’t everyone love to have their kids in class sizes of 15!
The Working Group chaired by former ACT Party President, Catherine Isaac, never produced a written report or advice to its sponsoring Minister, John Banks, so no-one knows what the “magic formula” is supposed to be.
Maybe that’s why the total roll count of all 5 schools at their planned maximum capacity would still fit into one South Auckland primary school!
John Banks is on record that the charter school initiative is one of the “… most exciting initiatives we have to contribute to solving our most urgent educational problem; the long tail of underachievement”. He has also claimed that NZ’s version of charter schools will be subject to greater accountability than state schools.
But, in practice, the whole process so far has been shrouded in secrecy, with John Banks being rapped over the knuckles by the Ombudsman. From the beginning of the school year, the shutters will come down even further, as the new schools will not be subject to public scrutiny, including the Official Information Act.
The policy of so-called Partnership Schools is a disgrace, founded on ideological nonsense and carried out away from the light of public scrutiny.
There are far more important and proven methods to help schools improve education outcomes for at risk students. Our $19 million is being wasted.